Gold vermeil has been present in jewelry for a long time. Although today it seems that some people are unaware of its existence, it has been causing a sensation in the world of jewelry. Being an affordable alternative to real gold and comparable in appearance and quality. As well as for the variety of colors ranging from white, yellow, pink and even tricolor.

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If you are a lover of gold-like jewelry or just want to buy gold vermeil jewelry, here is what you need to know.

What is Gold Vermeil?

In a nutshell, vermeil (French for silver, pronounced see-may listen)) refers to a variety of gold-plated metal. For metal to be considered vermeil, it must meet three main business criteria:

  • The base metal must be sterling silver (92.5%) or fine (99.9%). That is why vermeil is also known by its other names: silver gilt or silver vermeil.
  • The purity of the gold must be at least 10 carats.
  • The thickness of the gold layer must be a minimum of 2.5 microns (0.0025 millimeters).

If these three criteria are not met, then the metal becomes gold or gold plated (more on this later). You can also find gold vermeil in other colors like rose gold, white gold, tricolor, etc. The color you choose depends on your preferences.

While this type of gold is popularly used in jewelry, it is a versatile metal and has other uses as well. A good example is the Vermeil Room of the White House. This famous room contains a wine cooler and crockery, all made of vermeil. You’ll find vermeil used in accessories and furniture, among other things.

Likewise, many sports trophies and all Olympic gold medals are made of gold vermeil. Additionally, it was a popular feature of the Victorian era and was widely used in jewelry, tableware, and other items.


The process for obtaining gold vermeil originated in France around 1750, when royalty and high society sought out jewelry and precious metals as a way to display wealth and prestige.

Back then it was a technique that required liquid gold melted over silver. Therefore, those who made jewelry applied mercury and gold to silver and exposed the metal to extreme heat. The high temperatures caused the mercury to vaporize and a layer of gold to adhere to the silver.

However, being so harmful, the mercury vapor ended up causing many artisans to become blind and sick. This is also because of the high levels of mercury that were required in the process, which caused France to ban it in 1800. Modern gold vermeil is usually created through the electrolysis process, which is completely safe and produces a similar result. .

How is Gold Vermeil made?

To create gold vermeil, the item is first cast in fine or sterling silver and then covered in gold through a process known as electrolysis. In the past, vermeil was made by the fire gilding process, but it was later banned due to the dangers inherent in this process, especially the problem of blinding mercury. Electrolysis, if done correctly, results in a consistent thickness and quality that is capable of lasting a long time and can last for many years.

How long does gold vermeil last?

The durability of your gold vermeil actually depends on the thickness of the gold plating. In other words, gold is the main factor in determining whether or not gold vermeil will last. As a general rule, the thicker the gold plating, the longer the life of the piece.

Another factor to consider is the purity of the vermeil. As you may know, the higher the purity of the gold, the softer it is and the more susceptible to scratches and damage. If you want gold vermeil that will last a long time, it is recommended to buy 14k or 18k gold vermeil. Anything higher will be too soft and anything lower will not have the golden color that you may be looking for.

Another question that we get asked a lot is if gold vermeil tarnishes. Because vermeil is made with a silver base, and because silver is known to oxidize, it’s only a matter of time before gold vermeil begins to tarnish. However, this does not have to be a permanent problem. With regular cleaning and maintenance, tarnish can be removed and vermeil’s brilliance restored.

How is gold vermeil different from gold plated and gold filled?

Gold vermeil, gold-plated, and gold-plated jewelry are very similar in concept. Only minor differences in execution and materials distinguish these three methods.

1. Gold plated jewelry

There is no standard thickness of metal or gold when it comes to gold plating. You can find gold plate in a variety of thicknesses and in a variety of metals and alloys. With gold plating, there is a high chance that the gold finish will wear and chip over time, as the gold plating is very thin.

2. Gold Filled Jewelry

Gold filled jewelry is more valuable than gold plated. It contains more gold as the gold layer is quite thick. Also, the base metal used for gold-filled items is usually a gold alloy. This is hypoallergenic and does not tarnish either. Gold filled is the best alternative to solid gold. That is why it is more expensive than gold plating or even vermeil.

Gold vermeil is similar to gold plating in terms of affordability and amount of gold used. The main difference between the two is that vermeil has its strict standards and is made entirely of precious metals (both silver and gold are considered precious metals) while gold plate has different levels of gold thickness and is made with any base metal. If the same criteria are met for both, gold plating and gold vermeil can be the same thing!

Buy gold vermeil

You can find gold vermeil in many jewelry stores online and in the store, however it is essential to be a careful shopper. Here are some things to look for before you buy:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Look at the prices. Gold vermeil is usually more expensive than sterling silver and gold-plated jewelry. If the price of gold vermeil is very similar to these, it is likely that the quality of the vermeil you are looking at is low.
  • Check the coloration and weight of the vermeil piece. Ask about the purity level and thickness.
  • Please check for the ‘925’ marking on the item as it is used to indicate silver jewelry covered with a layer of gold. This is a standard vermeil stamp.
  • Buy from a trusted seller. When selling gold vermeil, sellers must disclose any deviations from the minimum standards in the three criteria listed above, as vermeil is a regulated metal. It’s a good idea to ask for all the specifications of the vermeil before you buy.

Possible allergic reactions

Certain metals such as nickel, copper, chromium, and cobalt are known to cause allergic reactions in people. This is not a problem with gold vermeil as it usually only contains gold and silver.

However, if there are mixed materials in the vermeil such as nickel, sellers must disclose them. Be extra vigilant when asking about the composition of gold vermeil.

How is it maintained?

With proper care and maintenance, silver vermeil jewelry can continue to shine through the years. Here are our top tips for cleaning and storing your silver vermeil jewelry.

  • When you’re not wearing your jewelry, store it in a cloth-lined box or soft cloth away from dust and dirt. An airtight box is ideal as it can minimize oxidation of the silver base.
  • Avoid placing your jewelry near heat as this can cause discoloration and warping. Also, do not place any weight on top of the jewelry as this may cause damage.
  • To prevent tarnishing, please clean the jewelry after use. Buildup of body oils, cosmetics, and dirt can cause jewelry to lose its shine and fade.
  • Avoid cleaning gold vermeil items with heavy cloths or chemicals, as this can remove the gold. Use only a microfiber or 100% cotton cloth to gently clean the item and warm soapy water.
  • Never use chemicals to clean gold vermeil jewelry. These are makeup, liquid detergent and even chlorine from swimming pools. These can discolor jewelry and remove gold.

final verdict

All in all, gold vermeil is the ideal choice if you love gold but can’t afford it. Since it gives the appearance without the high price. Also, if you’re wondering why to go gold plating, gold filled, or gold vermeil, keep in mind that each has its benefits. The main reason people choose gold vermeil over the other two is because it is more affordable than gold filled and more valuable than gold plated. Make your decision based on your preferences and what is important to you.